Welcome back, Marvel fans! The Falcon and the Winter Soldier delivered a whopper of a (Hopefully?) season finale this week. The Powers That Be managed to tie up loose ends with a neat bow while still leaving some threads dancing on the breeze. “One World, One People” was surprisingly emotional.
There were quite a few moments wherein the tears were flowing for me. Sam’s introduction as Captain America with that brand-spankin’ new suit! Bucky making amends with Nakajima! Sam’s eloquently moving speech to all of America! Sam honoring Isaiah Bradley’s monumental sacrifice with a statue in the Captain America museum. “Now, they’ll never forget.” Our fave two best friends enjoying each other’s company in Louisiana. It was damn near perfect.
Not to mention, there were a few moments that elicited some gasps. John Walker semi-redeeming himself and helping Sam and Bucky incapacitate the Flag-Smashers. The reveal that Sharon Carter was the Power Broker didn’t shock me.
However, her continuation of that role even after being pardoned/reinstated as a US agent did. Zemo and Val teaming up to slaughter the remainder of the Flag-Smashers. The power that dude has even behind bars in one of the most secure containment facilities to exist!
Ready to delve into “One World, One People”? Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), Dovich (Desmond Chiam) and their Flag-Smasher crew waiting to pounce outside the GRC headquarters in New York City. They’ve officially initiated their latest move to stall The Patch Act vote. The area itself is under lockdown as the government scrambles to protect the senators within. Karli is game to kill said senators if need be.
However, her fellow brethren are reticent to do so. You can see the group is beginning to splinter. Karli’s extremist actions don’t exactly align with their collective views. But she’s the boss!
Meanwhile, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) arrives on the scene. Sam (Anthony Mackie) is soaring above the city. Sharon (Emily VanCamp) surreptitiously infiltrates the area while donning pretty sweet facial stealth tech. Essentially, Sam helped her sneak into the country to be of assistance. Suddenly, our Falcon swoops into one of the windows of the GRC headquarters.
His new suit! I love that Wakanda combined elements of his Falcon attire i.e. the wings along with facets of the original Cap suit. He even rightfully proclaims to one senator that he’s Captain America. It’s happening! It’s all happening!
Later, we see the senators being whisked away to safety in armored vehicles. But they’re not that safe because Flag-Smasher lackeys are infiltrating said armored vehicles. Sam is visited by an old friend — Batroc (Georges St-Pierre). The two duke it out. Bucky and Sharon split up to take out the Flag-Smashers (not to dinner, though). Karli calls Bucky. She tries to persuade him to step aside. His hands aren’t clean, after all. That being said, Bucky tries to be better. He takes off after the armored vehicles on a motorcycle.
Meanwhile, Sharon throws in a mercury-poisoning device to impede one Flag-Smasher from regrouping with his pals. We see a helicopter disembark with a slew of important people. Another Flag-Smasher is operating as the pilot. Sam tosses his shield out of the window, follows in pursuit of said shield and swipes it up in one fell swoop. Like a falcon. It’s badass. He’s hot on the heels of the helicopter.
But wait — there are two! Sam sends one of them straight into the Hudson. Thankfully, nobody from the GRC was in it. Then, he dispatches Redwing (Welcome back!) to learn if anyone on the other helicopter is capable of commandeering one. He stealthily texts one woman, Ayla (Jane Rumbaua), and instructs her to take control after he incapacitates the pilot. She does this with success. Sam sends the Flag-Smasher into the waters below.
Next, Bucky tracks down the armored vehicles. He begins dueling it out with Karli and Dovich. Suddenly, John Walker (Wyatt Russell) makes his grand entrance with his bargain bin Cap shield. That’s some Walmart bargain bin sh*t. He takes on Karli. Meanwhile, the Flag-Smashers set one of the armored vehicles ablaze as a means of distracting Bucky. He saves them like the hero he is. One of the senators emphatically thanks him. You can see the mixture of surprise and joy on his face. Our White Wolf!
Then, we see Karli and Walker wending in and out of all that NYC scaffolding. The other armored vehicle is now hanging precariously over the edge of even more construction equipment. Bucky is currently in a pit fighting Dovich while said armored vehicle dangles above him. Walker finally puts on his hero pants and, for the first time since the pilot episode, saves lives. He lunges after the armored vehicle and attempts to pull it onto solid ground. But the Flag-Smashers prove to be a nasty foil.
Thankfully, our Cap swoops in and saves the day! A bevy of bystanders cheers him on. We see that folks have their phones out to record the heroic act. They’re already referring to Sam as Captain America, which makes my heart soar.
Later, Sam, Bucky and Walker chase after Karli. It appears they’re underground. Walker and Bucky go one way while Sam goes the other. But it’s Sharon that finds her first. We learn that Sharon, formerly known as Agent 13, is the Power Broker. Batroc appears on the scene. Apparently, Sharon enlisted in Batroc’s aid to track down Karli. Karli owes her those super-soldier serums, after all. Sharon’s reveal doesn’t come as a surprise. I’m just disappointed! What would Aunt Peggy say? But I can see what led her down this path.
Suddenly, Sharon brandishes her weapon and attempts to shoot Batroc while Karli fires on Sharon simultaneously. We see a wound on Sharon’s stomach begin to blossom. Sam arrives just in time. Karli proceeds to pummel our Cap with blow after blow. However, Sam refuses to fight her. He wants to help her.
Meanwhile, Bucky and Walker manage to zero in on Dovich and the rest of Karli’s crew. A slew of US agents carts them off in handcuffs. Bucky is perturbed by Walker’s usage of an Abraham Lincoln quote. “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” Yeah — I’d be unsettled too if I heard that from him.
Next, we see the scuffle between Karli and Sam rise to a fever pitch. Well, more like Karli’s scuffle. But Sharon gets the last move as she shoots Karli in the chest in retaliation. Karli perishes in Sam’s arms. She apologizes before she dies, which tells me that she felt remorse regarding her actions. Karli was a good kid who got swept up in the fight.
Then, Sam delivers her body to a horde of EMS workers. A few senators approach Sam and thank him for his service. Sam proceeds to impart a wildly insightful, moving and eloquent speech about why the Flag-Smashers did what they did. He even mentions that now the senators know how those who were displaced by the Blip felt. Now they at least sympathize with the incessant struggle the displaced and other marginalized communities face. Again, it’s reminiscent of the racial disparities in our own reality. Even Bucky sheds a tear in reaction to Sam’s hard-hitting words.
Thankfully, it was all televised. We see Sarah (Adepero Oduye) watching her brother with pride. Joaquin Torres (Danny Ramirez) also watching his buddy with a smile on his face. Additionally, Isaiah (Carl Lumbly) observes the scene with tears in his eyes. He’s beaming with pride. This bit broke me.
Next, Bucky escorts Sharon to the hospital for her stomach wound. Sam vows to follow through on his promise. She will receive a governmental pardon. A senator calls out for “Captain America” and Sam is asked to retrieve the one last Flag-Smasher that he deposited into the Hudson. I’m so tickled to hear the higher-ups recognizing Sam Wilson for who he is — Captain America.
Later, we see the remaining Flag-Smashers being escorted into an armored vehicle bound for The Raft. It’s instantly engulfed in flames. We see Zemo’s butler is the culprit. Speaking of which, our favorite dancing baron (Daniel Brühl) is sitting in his cell on The Raft. He hears the news that the last Flag-Smashers have died in a fire. He smirks.
Next, Val (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) informs Walker’s wife, Olivia (Gabrielle Byndloss), about her latest tag team with Zemo. Together, they coordinated the attack on the remaining Flag-Smashers. It would’ve been too much paperwork to have them become permanent residents on The Raft. Walker waltzes out in a new suit. It’s essentially the same as his former suit, but now it’s black. Val reveals that the world doesn’t need a Captain America, but a US agent. It looks like Walker’s got a new role in the government. He rejoices.
Meanwhile, Bucky knocks on Nakajima’s (Ken Takemoto) door. It’s time to make amends and cross off the last name on his list. He tearfully confesses that he’s responsible for RJ’s death. We see Bucky walk past the restaurant where Leah (Miki Ishikawa) works. Their eyes meet. She smiles while she tends to Nakajima. I wonder if she knows his secret. Dr. Raynor (Amy Aquino) finds a bag addressed to her in her office. It’s from Bucky. She procures his booklet, Steve’s booklet, that has every name therein crossed out. He leaves an accompanying note that states that he read the book. He thanks her.
Later, Sam pays Isaiah a visit. Isaiah appears to harbor some cynicism and reticence. Who can blame him after everything he’s been through? Sam has something to show Isaiah. They travel to the Captain America museum. There’s an exhibit dedicated to Isaiah. A golden statue in his honor. “Now, they’ll never forget.” Isaiah embraces Sam. I’m not sobbing uncontrollably, you are (I definitely am.)!
Now, it’s party time! Sam and Bucky are hanging out with the former’s family in Louisiana. I love that they’ve accepted our White Wolf with open arms. Bucky playing with the kids just made my heart grow three sizes. We see the newly minted best friends smiling into the distance. “Captain American and the Winter Soldier” is emblazoned across the screen. I’m crying … again.
Then, because it’s Marvel, we’re blessed with a mid-credit scene. Sharon is awarded a full pardon and reinstated in her former position. Her family name is brought up with reverence. Funnily enough, that statement is subsequently followed by a questionable phone call. Sharon calls a mystery someone in, presumably, Madripoor. She urges them to line up their buyers. They’re going to have a field day with all the items she can secure now. The Power Broker lives on!
What a season! The Falcon and the Winter Soldier kicked all kinds of ass in more ways than one. In retrospect, I love Sam’s journey to obtain the shield. The series gracefully handled the racial disparities that are pervasive in our own world. Because of this, the show was grounded in reality. Of course, I’d be remiss if I left out the “morally gray” villains. They weren’t these grandiose, bombastic, “mustache-twirling” foes. They had seemingly pure motives and reasonable struggles. But their actions to achieve their objectives weren’t exactly sound. Desperate times, though.
Not only that but having Sam being embraced for his new role (at least at face value) was so gratifying. In addition, Isaiah receiving the praise he deserved and that wonderful memorial in his name was beautifully poignant. Both Sam and Isaiah truly embody what it means to be a hero. Sam’s moving monologue can most certainly be applied to our time and the current struggles marginalized groups face every day. On another note, I dug the juxtaposition between Sam’s “I’m Captain America” and Walker’s vehement “I am Captain America.” I could write a dissertation on this show.
I also loved Bucky’s mental health journey over the course of the season. He did the work, as Sam put it. He made amends. And he transformed into the White Wolf before our very eyes.
I hope this isn’t the only season. But if it is, it’s a solid entry in the Marvel realm. Perhaps we’ll see more of Zemo if he continues to work with Val while imprisoned in The Raft. He’s got connections in high places as a baron, after all.
So, will we see Sharon conducting her shady dealings in the US as she essentially works as a double agent? What new adventures await our dynamic duo? Will we see John Walker in action as a newly christened “US agent” for Valentina Allegra de Fontaine? Marvel is so adept at leaving these little open-ended morsels for us viewers to chew on.
All episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are now streaming on Disney Plus.
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